July 20, 2021 3 min read
I sit here writing my second blog article of the year after a disappointing night on Saturday where I lost 10-5 to Dimitri Van den Bergh on my World Matchplay debut at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.
There is absolutely no shame in losing to a player of Dimitri’s quality, but my performance was not at a level that enabled me to remain competitive, and this is personally the most unsatisfactory aspect of the match. It is obvious that an average of 84 without recording any 180s is a long way off what I was consistently producing in 2020, both on the floor and on stage. I was having some technical issues that meant I struggled to find any rhythm throughout the match.
Despite this setback I remain extremely optimistic for the rest of the year and I can take some positives from Saturday night. It was great to play in front of a crowd again after all this time and the support I received both during and after the match was amazing. I’m truly humbled and grateful for this. Despite some below par results in the recent Players Championships events, I felt that my preparation for the Matchplay had gone well and that my game was coming together, however it is now clear that I was not trusting my technique on the stage. The good news is that it is now obvious to me the specific aspects of my game I need to focus on and I was on the practice board at 9am on Sunday morning, starting the hard work to implement the changes required. My management company (Pinpoint Sport) have been proactive in securing and funding the services of a performance coach for me, whilst I will continue to work with Wayne Mardle for his invaluable technical input. I am very happy with my support team and I know they have full confidence in me.
I am a big believer in trying to retain perspective and balance when I think about my game. I try not to get too high when I win or too low when I lose. A career in darts is a marathon journey and there will be many peaks and troughs along the way. Success is always temporary because it’s never enough; I felt this in 2020 where I kept pushing myself for more improvement. Being ambitious is hard work, but it’s always worth it in the end.
Of course, success for me is not just about performance on the board. When I reflect on the impact that I have had on darts in Africa it gives me immense pride and pleasure and this is something that I will always continuously strive to positively influence and never be fully satisfied with. It is a great motivation for me to know that the next major tournament I will play is the World Cup of Darts where I will represent South Africa. It will also be special for me that the event is in Germany. German darts fans are as passionate and knowledgeable as any in the world and I absolutely love playing in front of them.
It was great to see the PDC recently announce the return of the Euro Tour with events scheduled for Hungary and Gibraltar. These events are hugely popular amongst the players and I really hope that we can go back to a full schedule of events in 2022.
I want to finish off by thanking my loyal sponsors who have given me unwavering support through the first half of the year. Trinidad (TRiNiDADinfo) have done a superb job with my new barrels and points and this is reflected by how well they have sold in my online shop. Fitzdares (@Fitzdares) are such a fun brand and I am very much looking forward to playing in an exhibition at their club in late September. Volcano Sports (@VolcanoSports2) continue to do a brilliant job with my playing shirts and apparel, it was fabulous to see so many fans wearing my replica playing shirt in Blackpool. I am biased but the shirts really do look great!
Finally, over the last two majors I have partnered with Simbi. Simbi are external wall specialists based in Kent. They are headed up by Michael Chirashi. Like me, Michael is a man of African origin who has moved to the UK to make a success of himself, which he clearly has. He is an absolute gentleman and I hope our association continues.
I hope to write my next article in the Autumn. Until then, enjoy the sun and the darts! And remember, don’t let disappointment defeat you, let it drive you.
March 20, 2021 4 min read